The Corner

National Security & Defense

Iran’s Propaganda Victory in One Illegal Image

Here it is:

This photograph violates international law. Article 13 of the Geneva Convention (III), governing the treatment of prisoners of war, requires Iran to protect prisoners against “insults and public curiosity.” This photograph — including a female sailor apparently forced to wear a headscarf – is a quintessential example of “public curiosity” and would be interpreted as insulting throughout the Muslim world. (And if you don’t think Iran is in a state of armed conflict against the United States, tell that to the families of hundreds of American soldiers who’ve lost their lives to Iranians and Iranian-backed terrorists.)

The sight of members of the American military, disarmed and under Iranian control, is of enormous propaganda value in Iran’s ongoing war against the United States. To its allies in the Middle East, the photo demonstrates Iran’s strength – how many jihadist countries have had this many American servicemembers under their power? – and it demonstrates American weakness. Then there’s this:

“This time, the Americans were cooperative in proving their innocence, and they quickly accepted their faults without resistance,” the analyst, Hamidreza Taraghi, said in a phone interview. “The Marines apologized for having strayed into Iranian waters.”

Never fear, John Kerry made friends with the Iranians, and that made all the difference:

Also playing a role was the strong relationship that has developed between Mr. Kerry and the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, during negotiations on the nuclear deal, Mr. Taraghi said.

“John Kerry and Zarif were on the phone during the past hours, and this helped the problem to be resolved quickly due to their direct contact,” he said.

Nations that take illegal propaganda photos, crow about their seizure of American boats, confiscate part of their equipment, and then point to our allegedly admitted faults aren’t “easing tensions,” they’re flexing their muscles. I’m glad our sailors and boats are back in American hands — minus, apparently, their GPS equipment — but once again Iran has thumbed its nose at the U.S., demonstrating that it does what it wants — whether it’s testing missiles, launching rockets near U.S. warships, or taking, questioning, and photographing American sailors who (allegedly) stray into Iranian waters.

Well, at least our secretary of defense understood the gravity of Iran’s actions:

Around the world, the U.S. Navy routinely provides assistance to foreign sailors in distress, and we appreciate the timely way in which this situation was resolved.

Iran violates international law, and the United States thanks the jihadists for not doing worse. Our country is in the very best of hands.

UPDATE: Now Iran is showing surrender images on television, deliberately humiliating Americans for their home audience:

 

 

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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